Thursday, 14 October 2010

BUSTER, THE BLOG DOG.

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A bad day, here, in the North, The Vet never actually mentioned cancer but with her every cautious, bet-hedging phrase,the realisation of it slowly squeezed my heart until I asked her.

I had thought, jauntily, that it was a dental problem, an abcess, a shot of antibiotics and we'd be on our way, me and my little warm brown friend; instead, tomorrow, under general anaesthetic the sharp knives will remove the horrid growth and send it for examination, these things are normally malignant, so I guess it will just be a formality, nothing on which to pin hopes, no straw to clutch, no desperate barrel to scrape. Little Buster has cancer of the mouth and who knows where else. Before the operation I'll talk to the Vet firmly, once I've figured out what it is I need to be firm about. I don't think I want half of his jaw removed to no lasting purpose, I don't think he does either.

He loves his life so - his places, his things, his dinners, his journeys and his people - that it seems impossible that Kindness lies in ending it, but it may do.

The women wail and look to me for magic, at least for comfort and explanation, when it is I, Knower of Sorrow, skilled Accompaniast to Grief, Blacksmith to Cruel Reason, who is torn apart.

Buster knows nothing of this, the foulness does not trouble him yet, he snuggles down, he eats and runs his ancient run, unaware that we  who love him consider his extinction.

This time tomorrow, things will be clearer and maybe, with Grace, we can plan for a parting less awful, one more in his  interests than in ours, Across the Seas of Night, to the bright Shores of Morning.

28 comments:

mongoose said...

Poor you, Mr Ishmael. Let us have just one more miracle, eh?

call me ishmael said...

He had a frightful and cruel start to his life; making it to nearly a hundred is, I fancy, miracles aplenty, thanks, mr mongoose; we must take our lumps, shocking as they are, and not be greedy with the miracles, others need them more than we.

Anonymous said...

I'm truly sorry to hear this, Mr Ishmael.

PT Barnum said...

Ah, Mr. I, tis a road we travel together, you with Buster, me with my ancient feline, knocking on the door of 19. I think I will know, as I have known before with others, when the time is right for that last vet visit. Something - the life spark - goes from them when death is closer than life and they become an empty shell. That moment trumps all, since it is the end to their tiniest of pleasures, when nothing is worth a candle or even another breath. Let us hope there are still more days for him of his favourite food and his familiar domain.

yardarm said...

Best of luck to Buster; hopefully to frolic on the lawn many summers yet.

Mothers Ruin said...

Much love to the Lad himself. He's in the best of hands. Yours.

mrs narcolept said...

Shall be thinking of you both with love this long night. xx

a young anglo-irish catholic said...

Oh dear, oh dear.

My lot, properly battered by life over the years, much prefer animals to people.

They're always pleased to see you.

Ragarse said...

Grace, my daughter's 6 year old pregnant mare was put down tonight about half an hour after I had read about Buster.That blithe spirit flown into the night, never to witness another Northumbrian dawn.A creature of power, gentleness, grace, beauty and innocence. She was struck down by a fit or a stroke, or something, all yet unknown.The latest in a succession of blows to my daughter.

I found myself in a fit of tearful rage after speaking to her. Some will say it's only a horse, some will say her owner's other misfortunes, redundancy, poverty, the absence of a single job after 6 years of training are passing symptoms of the times. You may recall from times past at Guido's place that I have a similar vocabulary to your good friend Stanislav and it certainly poured forth tonight, directed at the causes of these problems.

The men who taught me how to behave, in the fifties, when we learned thses things, men glad to be home from a war said, inter alia, that I should always look after my kit lest some fucker steals it and that I must protect my family. Well this spirited creature was of the family and I have a foreboding of failure here in the early dark watches of the night. It will pass with the light with the return of resolution and I will remember that my father and uncles abjured tears, but he whole thing is so terribly sad.

You must cherish Buster Mr Ish and give him as much time in this life as you can. My best wishes for the trials to come.

richard said...

It's been joy and friendship ever since some unknown neolithic gent decided to make a friend instead of dinner, but we pay the price in sorrow at the end of our dogs' short lives. Best wishes to the tiny old chap - he might last a while yet, at ease in his retirement - and best regards to his kind and loyal human.

Dick the Prick said...

Oh, fuckety fuck.Good luck to you both, but as inferred, stern words can lead to stern decisions; let's hope for procrastination. Fingers crossed

black hole sunset said...

How long, as Richard notes, since a wild but inquisitive soul ventured towards flames and voices to nibble at scraps, a mother with hungry cubs, perhaps. By these ancient overtures, two essentially sociable species came gradually to orbit each other, the lives of both enriched.

Kindest wishes to Buster and yourself, Mr Ishmael.

Woman on a Raft said...

What Mr DtP said.

Verge said...

A sad, sobering post, Mr Ish. Two lines from Larkin (same poem, different ends):
"The little dogs beneath their feet...
What survives of us is love."

True dat

Woman on a Raft said...

And my rage on behalf of Mr Ragarse. It's just not fair.

Oldrightie said...

The chest swollen with grief and the bursting of mourning that is always inevitable. The worst of all bedfellows. Yet what we receive from our pets, particularly our dogs, is eternal.

Rightwinggit said...

Fuck.

Been there.

call me ishmael said...

These, voiced here, thanks, are the Truths of the Tribe; of symbiosis, of trust and companionship, forged these brief millenia, across the species' great divide.

There are those, of course, who are immunised, by mishap or spite, against Dog's boisterous, eager charms. But what sort can look in Dog's eyes and not swim in Creation's endless Sorrow, exult in her boundless mischief?

I am sorry, mr ragarse; try to find the poetry in it all, it'll be there, nudged up against the blues, awaiting your formulation.

Elby the Beserk said...

Sorry to hear that Ishmael. The tall and pleasant Scot who walks his Westie & Westie/Cairns cross where we walk the dogs, found out a while back that the Westie (12 years old or so) has a cancer in his jaw. Indeed, I think he lost a previous one to cancer as well. Not a lot one can do with a dog, unless one has huge sums of money. Give Buster a hug from all of us.

Caratacus said...

there are few words of comfort at time like this Ishmael and my heart goes out, it really does.

OR recently mentioned this:

http://rainbowsbridge.com/poem.htm

One of our cats had recently died and when I read this I couldn't speak. Hardened grizzled old atheist too. Helped though.....

NightJack said...

Unspeakably sad news.

Anonymous said...

Yes, as Mr PTB says, when "the life spark" goes might be the time to visit the Vet, Mr Ish, and maybe not before. Why? Because you'll be taking him when he's already in another place, another time. In the meantime, I hope you can enjoy his company (and bear to agonise over any of his suffering) just a little while longer. Chin up.

call me ishmael said...

He wasn't too pleased with me when I collected him from the vet's, baleful looks, what's all this shit you got me into, look, fucking bandages on my arm, drips, knock-out drops and I swear they stuck something up my arse when I wasn't looking. One of his honorary uncles came to see him tonight and got a right good barking-at for his pains; he doesn't bark so much these days, when once he could bark to wake the nation, so it was great to hear that.

They removed the growth, although some remains and they think it will return stronger and have put him on steroids as well as all his heart stuff; oceans of urine, they said, diuretics AND steroids, he's a good boy, though, never doing it anywhere he shouldn't. Well, practically never.

We'll have to see what transpires but for now he's ok, not in pain and eating like a horse; if he was one of us, of course, he'd want counselling. And compensation.

Thanks everyone for the kind words, a visceral sorrow shared, and in some cases, I am sure, exceeded.

Mike said...

Good news, of sorts, Mr I. Where there is life there is hope.

PT Barnum said...

Baleful looks and much barking are the blessed signs of him coming home as himself. May his life force remain strong for a goodly time to come.

And there is not a cat on earth who does not produce a facial expression of outraged surprise when the thermometer goes in...

Dick the Prick said...

As my boss used to say 'there's nowt to get old for'.

Went out with my best buddy last weekend and we're both mid to late 30's and, well, let's not joke about these things but it transpires that sooner, rather than later, both of us feel the requirement to wander up to our GPs and get a finger up the ass or whatever the hell it is they do down there. Gadzooks - seems like only yesterday the only variable was the number of stitches needed to patch up an unidentified alcohol incident.

There is fuck all to get old for - except perhaps linen suits and silly hats. Glad Mr Buster is still campaigning.

mongoose said...

I don't like vets. Manipulative, thieving bastards. Would make good MPs now I come to think of it.

Anyway, some decent news for a change, Mr I. Good. The proper way for an old dog to go is racing across a field barking like a lunatic at some intruder. Rat, cat or human - it matters not.

Agatha said...

Thank God, Mr.Ishmael, that Buster is still with you. Hope there's good news re the alien that grew in his mouth.
I used to fear and disdain dogs, following an incident in my childhood, when a dog as large as I was bit me in the knee and then mounted me from the rear, leaving unpleasant stains on my gabardine. (a gabardine, youngsters, is what they used to make children wear, together with wellies that chafed the legs red raw and left the knees exposed to the attentions of wandering dogs.)So, for almost 3 decades following, I had no truck with dogs, until my friend talked my husband into taking on a dog that was alone in the world, his master having gone to his final reward. I was really not keen, but hubby was, so I agreed to go and view this dog. He was some sort of cross between a Yorkie and a Westie, a sturdy little barrel on confident legs, and I fell in love. He was called Frankie but immediately became Frankie Sweetheart and I doted on him, washed his bottom, gave him favourite doggy treats and chicken, read to him, curled up in bed with him at the end of the day, took him out for his walkies and all that stuff. He was only three years old - just a baby, really, when he got run over on the road outside the house, because he wanted to rush across the road and kill the annoying dog taunting him on the other side.
All flesh is grass, Mr Ishmael.I hope little Buster is feeling better now,
Very Best Regards,
Agatha